Love it, Hate it, Twitter Forges On

In response to Matt Lewis’ declaration of hatred for Twitter Wednesday in a column in The Week, Ben Howe and Paul Brandus have written stories to counter Lewis’ view. Howe, who recently joked on Twitter about Lewis having sex with animals, wrote his “Why I love Twitter” for RedState; Brandus published his in The Week.

Howe admits he first got hooked on Twitter after attending CPAC. He made new virtual friends. He acquired a nasty habit of trolling for fights. “An easily achievable goal,” he says.

Like a yo-yo dieter, he has had his ups and downs. In 2010, he produced a video that went viral and as he says, his email blew up. But then, eventually, he went on a downward spiral. He couldn’t keep up. Worse, he didn’t want to keep up. Oh the horror.

Soon he implemented rules for himself. An excerpt:

“It was then that I made the decision to have 3 requirements for following someone: 1) I know them in real life, 2) they were interactive on twitter (as in, actually speaking to me rather than just expecting me to follow them because they followed me), or 3) they are someone who interests me regardless of interaction.

Miraculously, Twitter began to become meaningful for him again. “17,000 followers later, I can’t imagine my business or my networking without twitter,” he writes. Countering Lewis, who believes Twitter has become a “dark place” and a “prison”, Howe argues that the petty sh-t that happens on Twitter is just life and “simply how social interaction works.” Really? Do people in real life rattle each others cages by joking that they have sex with animals when they disagree with their political beliefs?

Brandus, meanwhile, has his own views on the matter.

The deck on Brandus’ story says it all: “My colleague Matt Lewis hates Twitter. He’s wrong.”

He writes that Lewis speaks of getting sucked into petty battles on Twitter. Brandus argues that this isn’t Twitter’s fault. The blame, he says, belongs to Lewis.

An excerpt:

“This isn’t so much a comment about Twitter itself as it is about how Matt has chosen to employ it. ‘It’s no way to live,’ Lewis says. Indeed, it is not. Believe me, I understand. I’m bombarded daily with angry, insulting, condescending tweets from people questioning my manhood, patriotism, and intelligence. I usually don’t respond. A thick skin is a good thing to have.” 

He adds, “The cranky pusses who send their nasty-grams to me are often uncivil and narrowly informed.”

Like Howe, Brandus says being on the receiving end of nastygrams comes with the territory of being a pundit, which he says Lewis is. “Nothing wrong with that, of course,” writes Brandus. “But if your job is to tell everyone what you think, you should hardly be taken aback, see it as a burden, or a ‘prison,’ when other people who disagree with you tell you so.”